By Krystal McKenzie
Ah, Bermuda. That ‘paradise’. That enigma once called ‘another world’. That same 21 square miles of mostly interconnected islands that you’ve probably only seen 40 percent of in your lifetime.
Bermuda still has its beauty. The trails, the parks, the water, and the beaches are all tailormade for activities that are perfect for someone looking to make the most of the great outdoors.
Now that the island is becoming increasingly safe for seniors, go ahead and make the most of seeing Bermuda in a whole new light! Here are some ideas to get you started.
President of the Walking Club of Bermuda, Lovette Tannock, encourages people of all ages to join in weekly walks around Bermuda.
“We have members and participants in the mid-century plus age bracket, and it’s the perfect activity! You can go at your own pace or challenge yourself to keep up with those who have been doing this a while.”
For seniors, she has great ideas on locations that would suit walkers of all abilities.
“The railway trails are great as they are relatively flat and maintained. They are fairly easy for any distance walk and are available across the island. Cooper’s Island Nature Reserve and Ferry Reach also have great walking areas.”
For those who are up to more of an adventure, Ms Tannock promotes Southlands as it’s an open area that is perfect for the physically capable senior. Beach trails are another good option. For example, the club did a walk from Warwick Long Bay playground along the beach trails and noted it’s a great workout.
If you want to walk but need frequent breaks, Dockyard has lots of buildings with air conditioning and benches if you need them. The City of Hamilton is also a good opportunity for a walk while you’re running errands or meeting up with friends; with plenty of fairly flat areas and slight inclines. It’s even good for the recreational walking beginner.
Since seniors are some of the most vulnerable members of our population, Ms Tannock has key tips on safety. Go early in the morning or in the evening to avoid the heat of the day. Choose your terrain based on your physical ability level. Stay hydrated! Safely stretch your ankles, feet, and hamstrings – or you’ll feel it the next day!
You can review the Walking Club of Bermuda’s health and safety measures, and see where they’ll be walking next, at walkingclubofbermuda.com/schedule.
Now, you may have walked all over the island already and are looking for an activity that will have you viewing Bermuda in a whole new light. As you might find on the website of the business below, some things have value because they are different.
Remember helmet diving? Technically “shallow water bell diving”? It’s still here, and Greg Hartley encourages people of all ages to experience this “new retro” activity. From the good old-fashioned undersea walk to your private event or party with food and drinks – you can tailor a trip to your liking.
Due to the Covid-19 restriction on cruise ships, Hartley’s now leaves from the public dock at Mangrove Bay, on the northern end of Somerset Island and offers a three-to-four-hour tour with 30 to 40 minutes of dive time exploring Bermuda’s beauty below the waves.
According to their website, hartleybermuda.com, “no scuba diving lessons or snorkelling skills are required…explore the ocean bed to witness the activity for yourself, first hand. Helmet diving is not really a water sport, because physical skill and exertion are not required. Just walk, breathe, and enjoy the action, while your head is totally dry. Think outside the Bermuda snorkelling box!”
When snorkelling, one is stuck on the top, watching the fish swim away. With Hartley’s helmet diving, you are secure on the bottom, and the “Celebrity Fish” come right up to you! Come meet George the blue striped grunt and Graham the Grasby.
Greg loves having a wide variety of people of different ages and sizes, so families are perfect – grandma and grandpa, parents, and children over the age of five. Experiences like this are more enjoyable when they’re shared, so a cross section of people is ideal.
There are charter options for morning and afternoon, and the per person trips are at 1pm, four or five days a week, so you can plan your day accordingly.
If you have certain medical conditions, you may need your doctor’s permission to go on the undersea walk. You can contact Hartley’s directly to find out more information on 234-3535 or visit their website to find the forms needed to participate.
If you find out that you’re ineligible for the dive, you can still enjoy the boat ride. Riders are half price and can stay on the boat if they are unable to go underwater with the helmet.
This is the perfect activity for seniors and their family members, and we encourage you to give it a go now that we can do these kinds of activities again. As Greg puts it, “Don’t live your life in fear – live life!”